Monday, July 31, 2006

So long, so long!

No, I mean it's BEEN so long. I'm so sorry, dear reader. Can I call you D.R.?

I could explain my busyness, but that's irrelevant (as I impressed upon Rebecca this weekend, this blog is ONLY about books). But I can give another, more relevant excuse; I've been reading a lot of YA material that wasn't so great as to merit discussion. When I try to think back on what I've read this month, what stands out is the Lois Lowry, which ranged from okay to very disappointing. Seriously, don't read Messenger. It's a great setup, and then a sudden, pointless, deus ex machina ending. Not at all.

But what was great, what surprised and impressed the heck out of me, was Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. This was a wonderful, delightful book, and I would recommend it to almost anyone, which is saying something. It proves that something really literary doesn't have to skimp on storytelling. It makes use of the shape of the story in unconventional ways, both to make its thematic points, and to build tension and anticipation in lives of the characters.

The only potential drawback is something that I actually believe to be a strength--the styles. The structure of the novel is in six stories, each in a different setting and somewhat different style. It ranges from a published journal in the South Seas in the mid-1800s, to a future dystopian interview, and further. Some of the stories take getting used to (spelling, syntax, etc), and each one relies heavily on its own style. I can't wait to hear what book clubbers are going to say about that chapter, which was very well executed.

I'm also reading Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. It's so good, well-written, friendly and comfortable. I just wish it was more convincing. Well, I don't necessarily mind that it wasn't convincing, I suppose, it's just that it feels full of holes to me. My English teacher used to ask us who, living or dead, real or fictional, we'd like to invite to a dinner party. I think I'm adding C.S. Lewis to my list, which included, so far, Oscar Wilde, Charlotte Bronte, Anne Shirley, and John Watson, M.D. (you need listeners at a party like that).

1 comment:

Michael said...

Watson is always good for a leading question to keep the conversation moving, and he would certainly be appriciative of the cleverness of his fellow guests!